I grew up pretty much letting things happen to me. My parents didn't have a strategy--they wuz too poor. They grew up in Alabama in the 1920s, were married at a tender age in 1931, and never had the luxury of planning much of anything. They hoped things would work out and used their brains to augment their good luck. I would say they were moderately successful, quite possibly because they never set the bar very high.
|My father, Preston (son of the photog) my sister, my brother, and me.|
People didn't think of making memories then. They tried instead to find projects that they enjoyed, and share them with their families. That is, of course, where memories come from. It strikes me as the wrong image when I hear young couples today saying things like "This is a house where we can make memories--" because memories are not to be controlled. I suppose you could have a strategy to provide memories, but has it not occurred to them that the memories will come whether they are the ones you want or not? Assuming you can make them is like teaching an infant to roll over in the crib; he is going to do it one way or another and you might as well accept it.
I am at an age where memories haunt me all day long. I was cursed with Superior Autobiographical Memory and whole incidents are repeated in my brain without my trying to call them up. My memory is not the sort that can be accessed in the way some of us with SAM say: If you throw a date at me, I cannot say what I was wearing and at what I did at 9 A.M. on that particular morning. But I could probably give a pretty complete version of almost any year of my life, the details of which would astound even me. In my case the problem is to tamp down the onslaught of memories, for some of them I really don't enjoy reliving. On the other hand, some are quite gratifying and fulfilling just to think about.
It is time to shape those memories, to re-strategize them into some meaningful form. A book is what I'm thinking about, going back to early childhood and assessing the themes of my own memories, of my own life. I've started, but the opening of old wounds and the balancing of the good times with the bad times, the novelization of my many highs and lows--gives me pause and challenges my ability. I hope I can do it.